May 02, 2019
About 4 in 10 older adults in the United States have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is linked with an increased risk of death until age 75, according to a study published in BMC Gastroenterology.
“NAFLD is highly prevalent in the elderly and is closely associated with components of metabolic syndrome,” researchers reported. “Although NAFLD is associated with increased risk of mortality for 60- to 74-year-old individuals, this risk was not increased in those older than 74 years.”
Study findings were based on data for 3271 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey with linked mortality information.
Specifically, the prevalence of NAFLD in US adults between the ages of 60 and 74 was 40.3%, according to the study. Among 60- through 74-year-olds, NAFLD was linked with a 60% increase in 5-year all-cause mortality, a 22% increase in 10-year all-cause mortality, and a 23% increase in cumulative all-cause mortality compared with controls without NAFLD.
NAFLD was also significantly associated with an increased risk of 5-year cardiovascular mortality in 60- through 74-year-olds, but it was not significantly linked with increased 10-year or cumulative cardiovascular mortality in the population.
Meanwhile, in adults age 75 and older, the prevalence of NAFLD was 39.2%. However, mortality rates were no higher for those with NAFLD than for age-matched controls without NAFLD, the study found.
“These data suggest that the impact of NAFLD can only be observed up to a certain age (age 75),” researchers wrote, “after which it is diluted by other age-related causes of mortality.”
Golabi P, Paik J, Reddy R, Bugianesi E, Trimble G, Younossi ZM. Prevalence and long-term outcomes of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease among elderly individuals from the United States. BMC Gastroenterology. 2019;19(1):56.